Thanks to an array of hormones, our bodies go through some pretty amazing physical changes in pregnancy. Some of these changes, unfortunately, have an impact on posture and comfort. As the baby becomes heavier, our center of gravity shifts and posture adjusts accordingly. This can place strain on muscles that might not be accustomed to working so hard. Ligaments in the body also naturally soften and stretch which allows the pelvis to prepare for labor. While this is incredibly beneficial for delivery, in the months leading up to that point it creates stress on the joints and can result in lower back pain.
And at every step of this journey there will be someone there to offer the friendly advice we have all heard: “those are just normal pregnancy pains”. While back pain affects an estimated 50-80 percent of pregnant women, you do not need to hobble through every ache just because your neighbor’s sister’s aunt went through the same thing and turned out fine. You deserve to feel as amazing as the life you are creating!
There are a few different ways to alleviate pregnancy pains—Tylenol, exercise and massage being some of the most common—but what about seeing a chiropractor?
Chiropractors are well known for treating things like back and neck pain, but can they help with discomfort during pregnancy?
That’s an easy one. YES! Chiropractic care has all of the same benefits during pregnancy as it has at any other stage of life! Chiropractic is a conservative health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Since pregnancy is a non-stop journey of musculoskeletal changes, it makes sense that chiropractic would be beneficial. Many pregnant women see a chiropractor for neck or low back pain, but it has also been shown to help with hip and pelvic pain, constipation, nausea, as well as improved labor. In fact, a RAND study of pregnant patients showed consistent reporting of improved quality of life after receiving chiropractic treatments.
What Will The Visit Look Like?
Prior to treatment at Champion Wellness, all patients are taken through a detailed history and exam process. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions! It is important for any physician to have a good understanding of your discomfort and to use your history to build an exam in order to really determine the source of the issue. Pain is not always a good determining factor for dysfunction. Intricate interconnections throughout the body can cause pain to pop up in one location as a result of dysfunction somewhere completely different. That is especially true for pregnant bodies that are constantly working overtime for 9 months straight!
If you have ever been to a chiropractor before, you might be wondering how you are supposed to lie face down on the table for the exam. At Champion Wellness, Dr. Heather utilizes a specialized chiropractic table that can accommodate a growing belly. The table features separate sections that can raise and lower independently. It provides support at the head, chest, and hips while lowering at the abdomen. With the help of additional wedge-style pillows, patients are able to lie face down at any stage of pregnancy!
Can You Adjust a Pregnant Person?
As with all patients, chiropractic care is adapted to fit each person individually. There are no cookie cutter plans here. What worked best for your friend, may not be the best course of action for you. In addition, if you received care prior to pregnancy, what worked previously may need modifications for your changing body.
Chiropractic is most commonly associated with a manual adjustment that makes some sort of pop or cracking noise. However, it is so much more than that! For starters, while proper mobility of your joints is important, it doesn’t always produce an audible sound. Don’t believe everything you hear on Tiktok! And while manual adjustments are safe during pregnancy, there are other adjustment style options if that isn't your jam. Secondly, at Champion Wellness, we strongly believe that an adjustment is not a miraculous single fix for musculoskeletal pain. We feel that every treatment plan should be well-rounded and include a rehabilitative program which compliments care. This reigns true for all stages of life, not just pregnancy. For most patients, that means Dr. Heather will advise an in-office muscle release technique such as Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) or PNF stretches. This will start to address any muscle imbalances or aberrant movement patterns. For others, strengthening exercises will be recommended.
While we wish every issue could be resolved in one visit, in most cases Dr. Heather will recommend follow-up care. It may take some time and effort at the beginning, but we want every patient to graduate from this program of rehab care and move forward to functional fitness. Our goal is to provide you with the tools necessary to not only address your current issue, but to prevent it from returning in the future. Yes, that means eventually you will not need us at all. But we hope you will still join us for a group fitness class or one of our awesome events!
Also worth noting is that you don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor. We would love to be part of your health journey during pregnancy, however, chiropractic care is not always the right solution for every patient. It is recommended that you touch base with your ob/gyn or midwife before seeking chiropractic treatment, especially if you’re at risk of any complications. Chiropractic care is not typically recommended if you’re experiencing the following:
- vaginal bleeding
- placenta previa or placenta abruption
- ectopic pregnancy
- moderate to severe toxemia
We hope this answered a few questions you may have had about chiropractic care through pregnancy. We can’t wait to work with you through this amazing stage of your life! Give us a call or schedule online to get started today!